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To those unfamiliar with accounting, XBRL filing can be mistaken as a typing error! But make no mistake, XBRL is an important part of any business's accounting and bookkeeping process.
XBRL is simply the extensible Business Reporting Language filing system that Singapore has revised the filing of financial statements for companies to follow. Today, almost every company in Singapore will be required to file in XBRL.
With the XBRL filing system, it allows important information and data from the company to be analysed with enhanced speed, allowing a better overview and in-depth analysis to a complete set of data for smarter and better business decisions.
If you're a foreign company looking to set up in Singapore or a first-time businessman looking to understand the XBRL filing system, look no further - here are 4 things you'll need to know about XBRL.
1. Who or what form of company will need to file in XBRL?
Any Singaporean incorporated company, regardless of unlimited or limited shares, will be required to file in XBRL. This is a mandate by the ACRA, and will be part of your business's obligation of filing your financial statements annually to the ACRA.
2. Is my company allowed to be exempted from filing in XBRL format?
As of 2021, solvent Singapore-incorporated exempt private companies (EPCs) are not required to file financial statements - hence not required to follow XBRL filing.
If an EPC wants to file a financial statement (FS), it can do so voluntarily with the XBRL filing system as one of its options; w.e.f. May 2021 there will be 2 options namely PDF copy of the FS authorised by directors and FS in XBRL format.
Companies limited by guarantee, preparing FS using accounting standards other than prescribed accounting standards in Singapore or IFRS, or foreign companies local branches are also exempted from filing in XBRL format.
3. When are the financial periods applicable for XBRL?
In Singapore, filing in XBRL format has become standard practice since 2014.
One thing to note is that the XBRL filing system is required if you're filing financial statements with periods ending on or after 30 April 2007.
If you're filing financial statements for periods ending before 30 April 2007, you can continue with the PDF format.
4. What are the minimum requirements of the XBRL filing system? Is there a list?
For most companies, the requirement list will include a specific set of information and elements that are needed to be available in the financial statement.
They often comprise of text blocks that allow companies to submit entire sets of financial statements and additional information elements that can include information regarding individual sections. This could be a statement of financial standing or an independent auditor's report.
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